Phone: 314-315-8111

Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Get Your Injury, Accident, And Insurance Questions Answered By Attorneys Who Know The Law

You are not alone: rest assured that hundreds of others in Missouri and Illinois have also struggled with your injury, accident, disability, or insurance claim. In fact, most of those people have had the same questions that you are asking now. Read the FAQs below to find the answers to your most pressing legal questions – and if you don't see your question below, call us today and talk to a St. Louis attorney face to face at a free, confidential meeting.

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  • I received a notice from Social Security that my case was scheduled for a video hearing. I don't like it. I want a hearing in person. Am I stuck with a video hearing?

    No.  You have an absolute right to object to a video hearing, so long as the request is made at the earliest possible opportunity.  You hearing date will be changed so that an in-person hearing can be scheduled. 

  • If I am denied benefits, should I try to handle the administrative appeal on my own?

    If your benefits are denied, it is best to contact an experienced ERISA attorney for the appeal. That is because it is important that a complete administrative record be made. A complete administrative record is necessary, because if you lose your appeal and exhaust all of your administrative appeals, the next level of appeal is to the federal court.  The court is required under the law to review your case based on the administrative record only and will rarely let you bring in any new information at that time.  Therefore, it is very necessary that you put forward your best case possible at the administrative level.  We and our experienced Missouri ERISA attorneys can help you with your administrative appeals and, if that is unsuccessful, we can then handle your appeal to federal court. 

  • The claims handler for my ERISA long term disability plan says I have to apply for Social Security benefits to be qualified for continuing long term disability benefits. Is this true?

    Most ERISA disability plans require the claimant to apply for Social Security Disability as soon as they are approved for the plan benefits.  This is because the plans are usually written so that the plan gets a credit or "offset" for any amounts they may owe you under the plan for any Social Security benefits you receive.  Many plans will provide you legal assistance in helping you apply for Social Security benefits.  We at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC are happy to help our ERISA disability clients with their Social Security cases as well. 

  • Why is it important to hire an attorney before my final administrative appeal is finished in an ERISA long term disability case?

    It is important to hire an attorney while you still have appeals rights available at the administrative level.  This is because you are still able to submit additional evidence to support your disability at the administrative level. Once you have exhausted all of your appeals rights at the administrative level, your next step is to bring an ERISA claim in court.  And the courts generally do not allow you to bring in any additional supporting evidence of your disability, as the court's job is merely to review the actions of the insurance company or plan administrator at the administrative level to determine whether they abused their discretion in denying you benefits.   You could be prevented from bringing in very important information concerning your disability if you did not bring it into evidence at the administrative level. 

  • Is my plan administrator or someone at my company in Missouri required to tell me if there is an issue with my retirement plan?

    The retirement plan administrator for your employee benefits is required under ERISA law to disclose certain information to you periodically, as well as furnish other documentation upon request. Failure to comply with these parts of the ERISA law can result in the need to take legal action with the help of a St. Louis ERISA lawyer.

    Your retirement plan administrator should offer periodic updates regarding the following aspects of your benefits plan:
     

    • summary of material modification;
    • summary annual report;
    • periodic pension benefit statement;
    • notification of significant reduction in future benefit accruals;
    • annual funding statement; and
    • notice of intent to terminate. 


    In addition to these reports required by ERISA law, your retirement plan administrator is also required to furnish upon request your plan documents and a statement of benefits. Failure to comply with this request within 30 days may also prompt legal action with the help of a St. Louis ERISA lawyer.

    Ideally, if your plan is well managed by your retirement plan administrator there should be no need to question the access you have to your plan information. However, if you are ever denied any of this information, that may be a warning sign that something is amiss with your plan's health. You should consult with a St. Louis ERISA lawyer immediately if this is the case to help preserve your retirement plan.

    Also keep in mind that shortcomings or problems with one aspect of how your Missouri employer handles issues governed by ERISA law may be an indication that they are not following protocol in other areas related to your employee rights. This is something to keep in mind when you believe that your retirement benefits are being mismanaged.

    Contacting a St. Louis ERISA Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

    If your ERISA-controlled disability benefits, life insurance or accidental death benefits have been unfairly denied it's important that you seek legal guidance from a St. Louis ERISA attorney who understands the intricacies of these very complex cases. The Missouri ERISA attorney team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC fights for Missouri workers. Contact us today - 314-315-8111.

  • When it comes to my long term disability policy in Missouri, does it matter whether it is an individual or group policy?

    Your employer may give you the option to enroll in an employee benefits plan that offers long term disability insurance in Missouri. There are 2 options for long term disability insurance in Missouri - group policies and individual policies. Which one you are enrolled in will matter when it comes to ERISA preemption.

    Group policies for long term disability insurance in Missouri are almost always governed by ERISA laws.
    This means that Missouri laws regarding your long term disability insurance in Missouri are pre-empted by ERISA laws. This ERISA preemption does not hold true for most individual policies which are often not governed under ERISA laws and therefore subject only to Missouri laws.

    For example, if there is a Missouri law giving the insurance company the right to recover contractual damages for the bad faith breach of a contract, this law is subject to ERISA preemption. Therefore, the insurance company would have no exposure to bad faith damages and would have no incentive to pay the claim since the Missouri law was subject to ERISA preemption.

    Choosing your long term disability insurance in Missouri is not a choice to make lightly. Be certain you have reviewed your options before making a decision. When you have concerns regarding how your long term disability insurance in Missouri is being handled, particularly if you believe your plan is affected by ERISA preemption, you should contact a St. Louis ERISA lawyer. ERISA law is by far one of the most challenging aspects of employment law. Make sure that the attorney you choose understands the nuances of this field to ensure you get the legal guidance you need.

    Contacting a St. Louis ERISA Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

    If your ERISA-controlled disability benefits, life insurance or accidental death benefits have been unfairly denied it's important that you seek legal guidance from a St. Louis ERISA attorney who understands the intricacies of these very complex cases. The Missouri ERISA attorney team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC fights for Missouri workers. Contact us today - 314-315-8111.

  • What is ERISA and how does it impact Missouri workers?

    Your retirement income security in Missouri is protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, commonly known as ERISA. This set of laws protects the rights of employees with retirement plans, disability benefits, and life insurance benefits offered by private employers.

    ERISA helps Missouri workers protect the following aspects of their retirement income security in Missouri:
     

    • It requires the plan managers to provide periodic updates about their plan benefits and status;
    • It sets minimum standards for plan vesting, participation, benefit accrual, and plan funding;
    • It enforces the accountability of plan fiduciaries;
    • It gives plan participants the right to sue for benefits and breach of fiduciary duty; and
    • It guarantees payment of certain benefits if the plan is terminated. 


    Filing a lawsuit in regards to an ERISA violation can be difficult. There are some lawyers who specialize in this law, so you should seek a St. Louis ERISA lawyer when you are in need of legal advice regarding your retirement income security in Missouri.

    A St. Louis ERISA lawyer will know the full reach of the ERISA laws and how they may impact your claim for your retirement income security in Missouri. There are many reasons you may need a St. Louis ERISA lawyer, including denial of benefits, breaches of fiduciary duty, denial of information regarding your plan, and discrepancies in plan documentation.

    ERISA law is one of the more complex areas of employment and benefit law and most Missouri workers are not prepared to handle a claim for their retirement income security in Missouri. You owe it to yourself and your beneficiaries to hire an experienced St. Louis ERISA lawyer to fight for the benefits you have worked hard to earn.

    Contacting a St. Louis ERISA Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

    If your ERISA-controlled disability benefits, life insurance or accidental death benefits have been unfairly denied it's important that you seek legal guidance from a St. Louis ERISA attorney who understands the intricacies of these very complex cases. The Missouri ERISA attorney team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC fights for Missouri workers. Contact us today - 314-315-8111.

  • What Is The ERISA Exhaustion Rule?

    Before you can file a federal ERISA lawsuit, you must first be sure to exhaust all other kinds of internal and administrative remedies to the issue. That is, the court could throw out your ERISA long-term disability or ERISA accidental death case if you do not first try to resolve your problem without litigation. Many legal experts and worker advocates believe that the ERISA exhaustion rule is unfair to the claimant, since exhausting all pre-litigation options can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. Because the details of ERISA law can prove complicated, it is always best to consult with an experienced a knowledgeable ERISA attorney if you believe you have a case.

  • What is ERISA?

    While the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) sounds like it simply protects workers’ retirement funds, it actually protects a large range of employee rights as they relate to worker benefit plans. ERISA protects your retirement benefits, pension plans, 401k plans, profit-sharing plans, health care benefits, life insurance benefits, and disability benefits. ERISA makes certain that workers receive their benefit rights and that employers never fire or discriminate against their workers in order to deny them their benefit rights. If you have had a ERISA claim wrongfully denied or if you believe that your employer, insurance company, or union is violating your rights in relation to a benefit plan in Missouri or Illinois, call an experienced ERISA attorney today.